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A woman receives a phone call from Bank Australia

Could you spot a scammer posing as your bank?

March 1, 2024
April 4, 2023

A new Scamwatch report reveals just how elaborate scams are becoming, with bank impersonation calls and text messages looking disturbingly real.

Can you believe that last year alone, Scamwatch received over 14,600 reports about bank impersonation scams in Australia, which resulted in people losing more than $20 million?

So what's a bank impersonation scam? Well, in today's tech-savvy world, scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their tactics to steal people's personal and financial information.

In these scams, scammers use advanced software to copy banks' legitimate phone numbers, email addresses or sender IDs, usually trying to get people to call the scammers back so they can trick them into handing over sensitive information or transferring money.

These calls and texts can look very convincing: even appearing in the same message thread in your phone.

Key takeaway:  Beware of scam callers pretending to be your bank; for example claiming your account was compromised and directing you to move your funds to a 'secure' account. The call might even show the real phone number of your bank. Hang up and call your bank on a number you've searched yourself.

To mark the publication of this important Scamwatch report, and to help you keep your accounts safe, we've put together five red flags to watch out for:

A person types on a keyboard. Next to him is a wallet and a water bottle

Be careful of unsolicited contact

If you get a message or a call from your bank out of the blue, it might be a scam. Scammers can fake their caller ID and email address to make it look like it's really your bank calling. Impersonation scam messages may look different to other messages from Bank Australia, such as different wording or phrases used. If you get a message telling you to expect a call from customer service, be on high alert for a scam.

If you get a text message with a phone number to call, do not use it. Instead, call your bank direct on a number you have searched yourself. Don’t trust a message just because it appears in a previous thread from your bank.

Don't move your money

If someone calls claiming to be from your bank and tells you to move your money to a "secure" account, it's probably a scam. They might even use your bank's real phone number to make it seem more legit. Don't fall for it! Hang up and call your bank using an officially listed number you know is real.

A woman typing on a computer beside her is a Bank Australia card

Beware of high-pressure tactics

Scammers often try to make you panic so that you'll act fast without thinking things through. If you get a call or message demanding that you take action right away or else face legal action or fines, take a step back and don't let yourself get flustered.

Be cautious with emails

Banks usually don't ask for personal information through email. If you get an email asking you to click on a link or provide personal info, even if it looks like it's from your bank, be cautious. We will never ask you to click on a link via SMS.

A person types on their keyword, the laptop is covered in stickers

Don't give away your info

Never give your online banking password, one-time security codes, PINs, or token codes to anyone on the phone, even if they say they're from your bank. If you think you might have been scammed, call your bank ASAP using a number you've found yourself.

So, stay alert and keep these five red flags in mind to avoid scammers stealing your information and your money. If you do receive a suspicious call or message, report it to Bank Australia on 132888 and Scamwatch immediately.

Let’s stay safe online! Discover more scam red flags.

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